Sunday, October 7, 2012

"No Mis-appropriations" but plenty of Shenanigans

The Laredo Morning Times headline was misleading to say the least. The front page of Sunday's LMT read "No Misappropriation". It went on to report that, in the final analysis, all the money from the recent fisaco-filled mud race was "there".  However, the headline fails to convey the many detours and contortions the money took before all of it was magically accounted for.

Consider the following excerpt for instance:

Bernie Chapa, of Ciclomania, the pre-registration site, arrived at City Hall on Sept. 19 to submit the remaining balance.

He provided $650 from credit card transactions and $2,300 in wads of cash that he pulled from his pockets.

At that time, the city called LPD.

Chapa initially told the city that only $650 in credit card transactions was pending.

Rosario Camarillo Cabello, the city’s finance director, then told San Miguel that about $2,000 was still missing.

The next day, Chapa turned in the $650 as well as $2,300 in cash.

Chapa told LPD that he did not turn in the additional money the day before because he was told by Clarissa Rangel, the city’s assistant parks and leisure services director, to not give it to San Miguel.
Muddying the truth further was this conflicting report involving Parks and Leisure Director Osbaldo Guzman, San Miguel himself and Maria Perez, who works as a clerk for the city.

Parks and leisure services department employees, meanwhile, believed that the director, Guzman, was “fully aware” that San Miguel took custody of the money, the report states.
Maria Perez, a city clerk who assisted in setting up the event, told city staff that Guzman directed her to give San Miguel the money collected.

But she said she told him that she had just bought the collections box and did not want to give it to the councilman.

She also told staff that she remembered San Miguel saying that he needed to go deposit the collections received.

She added that this was the first time collections had been given to a council member. In the past, it was always deposited through the city, she said.

Guzman dismissed the claims, saying that he did not direct anyone to give the collections to San Miguel.

And he told investigators that he did not know that San Miguel took the money.

“Conflicting statements were obtained from the … personnel as to whether (Guzman) gave orders to turn over monies to (San Miguel),” the LPD report states.

In a van, by the (Mud) river!  If all of this smacks of incompetence, read how the LMT reports the money was handled at the event.

The money was placed in a van that was parked on site.

The money was left unsecured in the van for several hours, the report states.

At the end of the event, San Miguel took the money home.

He told LPD investigators that he didn’t think it was a problem and said he was not aware of a money handling policy.
And for the icing of the cake :

After conducting its investigation, LPD presented the case to District Attorney Isidro Alaniz and Assistant District Attorney Marisela Jacaman.

The report, obtained by Laredo Morning Times on Saturday, states that the district attorney’s office would not prosecute the case due to a lack of evidence.


  1. All of those Bastardos who "handled" the moey should resign.

  2. No misappropriation, just a lot of shenanigans. It's ridiculous how the money was handled. It's one thing to make an honest mistake, but yet another thing to keep everyone in the dark about $20,000+.

    Even at the council meeting on the Monday after the race, Charlie San Miguel went on about how "amazing" the event was, but nobody ever questioned what happened to the money.

  3. Ciclomania has a history too. One its employees embezzled $12,000 from a local cycling club. The guy was arrested and prosecuted. I'm not sure whether Bernie Chapa was actively involved in the embezzlement but certainly he needs to screen his employees better. Cyclomania should not be allowed anywhere near a nonprofit's funds.

  4. Shoddy Police work.

    Although perhaps there is no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Charlie San Miguel stole some of the money, the money and the registrations were in his sole possession for several days prior to counting and auditing. He had days to destroy registration documents and pocket some of the money. The conclusion of "no misappropriation" of funds is unfounded. The money was not 100% reconciled. At the end they ended up with more money than registrations. CSM claimed it was due to T-shirt sales. Why not reconcile the T-shirt sales? The best that an intelligent Police Investigator could have said was that the investigation was inconclusive and that there was insufficient proof to seek criminal charges.

    If we were in Mexico, Charlie San Miguel would be behind bars because he would be unable to prove his innocence. His chances of escape from a Mexican prison however are much more favorable.

  5. I agree that nobody really knows if any money went missing. We only know that at the end it was close enough. It's impossible to prove him innocent or guilty. In this case, tie goes to San Miguel.

    Don't get me wrong, he should still resign but for other reasons, like nepotism and conflict of interest.

  6. This is bullshit. Arrest CSM at once! How can he get away with forgery on 3 checks?

  7. Hmmm, I suspect Chilo Alaniz will find no check fraud. Talk about political favoritism. Let all Laredoans know that you can alter the writing on checks with no legal consequences. Laredo is like a third world county when it comes to political corruption. Alaniz needs to take action. We're not demanding they locking him up forever but he needs to go through the system even if it ends up in acquittal or a sweetheart probation deal.

  8. May the Fleas of a Thousand Camels Infest the Crotch of Corrupt Public Officials.

  9. Check forgery came out again in today's paper, Hello Chilo McFly! Is anybody in there?